Counting Down in Christchurch to the NZ IceFest 2014

Have you ever wondered what it’s like living in Antarctica? Experience the sights, sounds, and culture of Antarctica at the NZ IceFest 2014! The much-awaited event will be held between September 27 and October 12, 2014. No need to board an airplane leaving from Christchurch International Airport just to experience the best of Antarctica. The Christchurch City Council, in cooperation with over 40 partner organisations, will bring you an amazing line up of activities and events related to Antarctica right in the heart of the City of Christchurch.

penguins photo by Lizzy Farthing
Photo credit: Lizzy Farthing

Christchurch is one of the gateways to Earth’s southernmost continent. The city has been involved in Antarctic exploration for years and you can learn more about that by visiting the Canterbury Museum. For an unforgettable interactive experience, make sure to attend the New Zealand IceFest, where you can participate in all sorts of activities such as boarding an Antarctic plane and watching Sled Dog Racing!

sled dog
Photo credit: gillmar – Shutterstock

To explain more about the NZ IceFest 2014, here’s an exclusive interview with Kat Ralph-Triebels (NZ IceFest Producer / Events Business Coordinator):

VVV: There are so many amazing places in New Zealand that are worth promoting, what made you choose Antarctica which is more than 7 hours away by plane from NZ?

Kat: New Zealand, and specifically Christchurch, has a unique relationship with Antarctica as we are home to one of five Antarctic gateways in the world. New Zealand is proud of its leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and we want to increase the awareness of our involvement with this mysterious continent and educate people about the importance of Antarctic science and climate change studies.

VVV: Tell us a little bit about Scott Base, and how does NZ IceFest include that station?

Kat: Scott Base has been New Zealand’s permanent base in Antarctica since 1957. The Base provides services and accommodation for the many scientific research parties and groups who visit Antarctica during the summer. Scott Base has been painted the very distinctive colour of Chelsea Cucumber Green since 1965. At NZ IceFest 2014, visitors will be able to get one step closer to Scott Base by visiting the NZ IceFest Hub in Cathedral Square. Part of the NZ IceFest Hub which will be themed to look like Scott Base complete with Chelsea Cucumber Green shipping containers. Visitors will be able to try on real Antarctic clothing at The Hits 97.7 an Antarctic Field Camp and see a Hägglund (an all-terrain amphibious vehicle) used in Antarctica.

VVV: Which IceFest activities & attractions will be interesting for families with children or teenagers, and how will the NZ IceFest engage them?

Kat Ralph-Triebels, Producer, NZ IceFest 2014
Kat Ralph-Triebels, Producer, NZ IceFest 2014

Kat: There will be so much for families and kids to see and do at NZ IceFest, two weeks just aren’t long enough! Mornings will see the NZ IceFest Hub host the Antarctic Explorer Stations where kids can have some hands-on fun with Antarctic Scientists. They’ll also get the chance to chat with Antarcticans via our video-conference setup at Spark Digital Talk to Scott Base. The ever popular U.S. Antarctic Program Air Day on Sunday 5 October gives kids, teenagers and parents the chance to get up close and personal with real Antarctic aircrafts at Christchurch International Airport. Teenagers and parents will also love the Curling on site daily at the NZ IceFest Hub as well as the Sled Dog Racing in Hagley Park on Sunday 28 Sept.

VVV: What can people expect in this year’s NZ Ice Fest that they haven’t seen in previous years?

Kat: This is the second NZ IceFest so there is plenty of new events and activities for people to see and do. We are taking the event back into the central city and creating a new NZ IceFest Hub complete with a plane themed entrance. Other exciting new aspects are:
• Antarctic themed street art
• Helicopter pilot Sir Richard Hayes as well as C17 and C-130 Hercules pilots speaking as part of our comprehensive speaker series
• Headline speakers Kevin Biggar & Jamie Fitzgerald’s talking about their expedition to the South Pole
• Gabby O’Connor’s Inland Ice art work which spans 20 metres along the NZ IceFest Hub frontage
• And heaps more!

Antarctica photographed by Nita Smith
Photo credit: Nita Smith

VVV: Canterbury and the City of Christchurch are among the best places to visit in N.Z., but Christchurch was greatly damaged by the earthquake back in 2011. How do you think the NZ IceFest helps the city? How do you feel about the character and resilience of the community and citizens?

Kat: Events are a vital part of any city but hold even more importance in cities that have been affected by natural disasters. NZ IceFest gives Christchurch residents a chance to come together and celebrate something great about the place they live in. Cantabrians should be immensely proud that our city is home to a leading Antarctic gateway and the festival gives people a chance to recognise this and learn more about our connections with the ice.

VVV: What’s the best part of your job as a producer?

Kat: Getting to work with so many talented people, transforming an empty site into an amazing event space and bringing a world class Antarctic event to the people of Christchurch.

VVV: Do you prefer hot or iced beverages?

Kat: Hot! A cup of tea always goes down well.

For more information on NZ IceFest 2014, please visit their official website.

NZ IceFest 2014 celebrates Antarctica
NZ IceFest 2014 celebrates Antarctica, Sept. 27 – Oct. 12

Mic Florendo is a Content Writer and Car Rental Expert at VroomVroomVroom. She recently wrote about the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament.

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